To the Editor:
Many thanks for publishing a recent editorial that supported the Northern Illinois Huskies' BCS berth in football.
After the Huskies were selected for the Orange Bowl, there were complaints from various corners of the sports world that NIU shouldn’t have received the invitation. According to the editorial, Kirk Herbstreit, an analyst for ESPN, said the NIU selection was, “a sad state for college football.” Those types of comments were hurtful to NIU players and fans.
As an alumnus and employee of the University of Central Arkansas, it was very gratifying to see your editorial supporting the Huskies. The students of NIU were very supportive of UCA students when UCA experienced the worst tragedy in its history in 2008.
On Oct. 26, 2008, two UCA students – Chavares Block, 19, and Ryan Henderson, 18 – were shot and killed as they were standing outside Arkansas Hall. The two innocent victims were shot by nonstudents who were firing from an SUV. The four men in the SUV pleaded guilty to various charges, were sentenced and are now in prison.
After the shooting, UCA made national headlines. Many colleges and universities from across the United States sent letters expressing sympathy. The students of NIU went a step further – they created a large banner of heavy cloth material, 6 feet by 3 feet, which was signed by many NIU students.
Some of the comments on the banner from NIU students included, “Huskies feel your pain, you are in our thoughts;" “We know what you’re going through. Our thoughts and prayers are with you;" “I’m sorry that this is how we have become united, but we’re here for you;" and “Huskies give UCA Bear hugs.”
The students at NIU knew exactly how the UCA students felt because they had gone through a very similar, horrific situation eight months earlier. The NIU students were very kind to UCA students by spending the time and effort to create the condolence banner.
Thank you again for supporting the Huskies with your positive editorial. NIU supported UCA during our time of need, and that is something UCA students, alumni, faculty and staff should remember.
Jimmy BryantDirector of archives for the University of Central Arkansas